Today, Plymouth Sutton and Devonport MP Luke Pollard held a debate in Parliament calling for bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides to be banned.
This call comes after news that the Environment Secretary and Cornish MP George Eustice has approved neonicotinoid pesticides for use on sugar beets in an attempt to tackle virus yellows. Government scientists had opposed the use of these pesticides but they were over-ruled by Ministers in Defra.
Neonicotinoid pesticides are proven to prohibit the flight and navigation of bees, as well as directly killing bees. To protect bees and other pollinators, neonicotinoid insecticides were banned across the EU in 2018, with UK support.
During the debate, Luke Pollard said:
“Bee health is non-negotiable. We are in the middle of a climate and ecological crisis. That means that we must not only act faster to cut carbon and do so fairly, creating green jobs; we must also protect nature, and that means taking difficult decisions to protect our natural world. We will never be nature positive if we dodge the difficult decisions or turn a blind eye to our role in the erosion of nature.”
“I want to do three things. First, I want to make the case for the ban on bee-killing pesticides to be restored—no ifs or buts. Secondly, I want to challenge the Minister and the industry to do more to help sugar beet farmers, some of whom face financial losses and real difficulties because of aphids. Thirdly, I want to argue that in the middle of a climate and nature emergency, future authorisations of bee-killing pesticides must be subject to a parliamentary vote, rather than being quietly snuck out by Ministers.”
The debate was joined by key Parliamentary figures, including Green Party MP Caroline Lucas, Shadow Minister Daniel Zeichner, and an official response from Defra Minister Victoria Prentis.